Is it only two hours after breakfast and your stomach is the chattiest in the room? Why not grab a snack? Eating small meals or snacks throughout the day is said to help boost metabolism and burn calories (as well as helping to quiet your stomach). As a result, eating smaller, more frequent meals may be ideal for healthy weight maintenance or even for weight loss. Of course, it is also possible to eat too frequently, so be careful not to overdo it.
Ignoring your stomach is one option, but if you choose to feed it – do yourself a favor and make a healthy choice. A choice you will not regret the moment you have swallowed your last bite. It is a good idea to keep your kitchen stocked with several healthy snacks. Doing so will ensure you will have something healthy in reach when you are hungry for a sweet treat or something salty or spicy. Rather than grabbing greasy potato chips or a fatty doughnut, try one of these snacks. These healthy snacks are all vegetarian and vegan.
Looking for sweet and sour? Rather than sucking on hardened clumps of artificially flavored sugar (known as candy on the streets), try grabbing some berries for a refreshing snack.
Berries are high in antioxidants and whether you choose strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries, you are sure to get a decent dose of vitamin C. Strawberries rank the highest, with 160% per cup (sliced). If you are looking for a low calorie snack, you will be delighted to know that one cup of berries will range from 53 calories for sliced strawberries to 84 calories for blueberries.
Berries contain iron, dietary fiber, protein, Omega-3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, and an assortment of vitamins.
You are not limited to the most common types of berries, as there is a wide variety ranging from acai berries to young berries. Buffalo berry, anyone?
2. Kale Chips
Kale chips have become a popular snacking choice among foodies. They are packed with nutrients and only take a few minutes to prepare. Eat a serving of these healthy chips and you’ll walk away feeling accomplished, rather than guilty.
One cup of kale is only 33 calories! Kale has Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids and is high in vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K.
3. Hummus and Veggies
Hummus is a good source of protein and dietary fiber and pairs well with veggies.
You can make your own hummus and experiment with creating different flavors. If you like a bit of spice, add cayenne pepper to your hummus. Roasted red pepper hummus is a popular choice with a nice flavor. You can even use black beans rather than garbanzo beans to create a unique flavor.
4. Almonds and Grapes
Grapes really seem to enhance the flavor of almonds, making them an excellent pair.
Almonds are an excellent source of protein, dietary fiber, calcium, iron, Omega-3 fatty acids, Omega-6 fatty acids, and vitamin E. Grapes are an excellent source of vitamin C.
Walnuts aren’t just good in baked goods. Just a few walnuts will put your hunger pangs in check and give you a nutritional boost in the process. Walnuts are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids. They offer cardiovascular benefits. Given heart disease is the leading cause of death, you don’t have to ask me twice to snack on these tasty nuts.
6. Dark chocolate
Oh yes, dark chocolate is on the list!
Besides being worthy of hiding from others, dark chocolate is high in iron and rich in antioxidants.
When selecting chocolate, check the ingredients list to ensure sugar is not listed first. Opt for at least 70% cocoa content, if possible.
If you’re craving something salty, grab a handful of pistachios. Pistachios are a good source of iron, protein, and dietary fiber. They contain Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
8. Frozen Grapes
If you’re in the mood for a frozen treat, frozen grapes may do the trick. As their name suggests, they’re grapes… only frozen. Grapes are a good source of vitamin C and vitamin K. Ten grapes only contain 34 calories.
After much consideration, I have decided to share my family recipe.
- Wash grapes
- Place grapes in your freezer for several hours
You are welcome.
9. Orange Slices
Pecans go great in pies so why not as a snack food? Pecans are a good source of iron, amino acids, and Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
11. Pumpkin Seeds
Another salty option is pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas. Of course, you could also eat them unsalted, which would make them even healthier.
If you are only looking for a snack because of boredom, this may be a good option because it takes a little extra work to remove them from their shells.
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of high quality protein, complete with all essential amino acids. They also contain Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
12. Peach Slices Sprinkled with Cinnamon
To satisfy a dessert craving, try sprinkling peach slices with cinnamon. This will give you a vitamin C and vitamin A boost and satisfy your sweet tooth guilt-free. As an added bonus, cinnamon is good for blood sugar levels.
Applesauce is a healthy snack that can be modified a bit. It tastes great with a little cinnamon. It is great cold and arguably even better heated, especially in the winter.
If you want your friends to think you eat applesauce of the highest sophistication, you ought to throw a cinnamon stick in the pot while it is being heated.
Applause is excellent when homemade, and is even appropriate for babies.
Applesauce contains iron and is a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C.
14. Roasted Chickpeas
While chickpeas are wonderful to make hummus, they are also excellent when roasted. If you are looking for a snack with a gigantic crunch that is sure to create curiosity among others, roasted chickpeas will fit the bill.
Roasted chickpeas are versatile and can be flavored in a variety of ways. If you want a bit of spice, sprinkle them with cayenne pepper before roasting. Garlic powder is a great choice to sprinkle over chickpeas. You can even use cinnamon and nutmeg to flavor your chickpeas.
15. Dehydrated Fruit
Dehydrated fruit is excellent to keep on hand at all times, considering fresh fruit does not last long. The process of dehydrating fruit does not cause fruit to lose many of its nutrients.
If you purchase dehydrated fruit, check to ensure sugar hasn’t been added. Better yet, consider dehydrating fruit on your own.
16. Veggies and Hot Sauce
Sometimes the mouth wants some spice. Sprinkling it over veggies, such as cauliflower and raw zucchini is a great way to spice it up without the calories. Salsa also goes well with veggies.
A sweet, juicy melon is always a nice treat that is low in calories. A cup of melon balls is approximately 50-60 calories. Melon contains iron and an assortment of vitamins. Cantaloupe, for instance, contains 120% of your recommended daily value of vitamin A and 108% of vitamin C.
Why bother will olive oil when you can eat the whole food? Only a few will satisfy a salty craving, while giving you nutritional benefits. Olives are anti-inflammatory and add antioxidants to your diet. They also help prevent bone loss, thanks to its hydroxytyrosol.
Popcorn is healthy if it is not covered in unhealthy ingredients. Rather than microwave popcorn, air popped popcorn is ideal.
Popcorn is 100% whole grain, high in antioxidants, and a good source of dietary fiber. Naked popcorn is only 30 calories per cup.
If you don’t like naked popcorn, mist it with olive oil rather than smothering it in butter. A healthy alternative to salt is nutritional yeast, which has a cheesy flavor and is high in vitamin B12.
If you’re in the mood for something salty, another healthy option is edamame. Edamame is steamed or boiled soybeans and is fascinatingly high in good quality protein. Edamame is an excellent source of iron, folate, and dietary fiber.
Hold the presses; the good news doesn’t stop there! Edamame is packed with an assortment of other vitamins and minerals. Of course, if you can live without salt, omit it and make this an even healthier snack.
21. Coconut Yogurt
Coconut yogurt, such as So Delicious or Kite Hill brands are the way to go. Most yogurt contains probiotics, which aid in digestion.
When selecting yogurt, try to select varieties that are not loaded with sugar. May I suggest buying plain yogurt and adding some ground pecans or fresh berries for a super healthy snack?
If you like the idea of starting with plain yogurt, but prefer a little more sugar on your yogurt, try adding roasted strawberries or cherries rather than fresh berries.
Yet another way to enjoy yogurt is to make healthy yogurt popsicles.
Apples are a good pick-you-up snack that will help put your hunger to rest. Apples are a good source of vitamin C and dietary fiber and rich in antioxidants.
If you want a little variety, sprinkle some cinnamon on your apple or eat it with a bit of peanut butter.
A word of caution: apples are considered a dirty dozen. That means they are one of the twelve produce items with the highest levels of pesticide contamination. A good solution would be to buy organic, if possible.
23. Whole Grain Crackers and Avocado
For an insanely fun snack, top a whole grain cracker with a slice of avocado, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a dash of garlic powder, and a leaf of fresh spinach or basil. Each of these ingredients has health benefits and they pair together nicely for a delicious snack.
Rather than garlic powder and olive oil, you can substitute hot pepper sauce for a bit of spice.
24. Celery and Peanut Butter
Celery and peanut butter are a healthy pair that taste great. Both contain an assortment of vitamins and minerals and peanut butter is a great source of protein and Omega-6 fatty acids. Feeling daring? Swap the peanut butter for almond butter. Yum!
A word of caution: celery is considered a dirty dozen. That means it is one of the twelve produce items with the highest level of pesticide contamination. A good solution would be to buy organic, if possible.
25. Potato Chips
Say what? Wasn’t the point to avoid potato chips? Surely the author has gone mad, right?
Actually, potatoes aren’t all that bad. They have some rather nice qualities. They’re an excellent source of iron, dietary fiber, high quality protein, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, and a plethora of other vitamins and minerals.
Make no mistake; I am not suggesting you buy potato chips. I am suggesting you make potato chips. Making delicious, crunchy potato chips is rather easy.
- Slice potatoes
- Spray a microwaveable plate with cooking spray (preferably canola oil or grape oil)
- Spread the sliced potatoes on the plate in a single layer
- Microwave for 3-7 minutes, or until slightly brown
- Remove from microwave (be careful, the plate may be very hot)
- Season lightly with salt, if desired. Alternatively, for a healthier chip, leave plain or add other seasoning (such as cayenne pepper, onion powder, etc.)
If you make more than one batch, you shouldn’t need to oil the plate each time.
Store the chips in an airtight container or zip lock bag. They will keep for up to a month.
Bonus: Trail Mix
I couldn’t stop at 25… so here’s the final healthy snacking idea. Combine your favorites from above (choose dry ingredients) and create a trail mix. I assure you, applesauce does not work well for this. Choose from among the nuts, seeds, dehydrated fruit, dark chocolate, etc. You can also check out my trail mix template for inspiration.